How to Speak Basic Mandarin Chinese in a Day?

Want to impress your Chinese guests or friends and you have only one day to prepare yourself? No fear! Here let’s teach you how to speak very basic Mandarin in a day. Chances are you have a translator or your Chinese friends know how to speak English, but you can still shine by doing what we are about to tell you.


1Learn the "four tones" of Mandarin as much as you can.

There are many resources that tell about the four tones. They are the basics of Mandarin pronunciation. Do not be too concerned if you cannot get it right, it can be a bit hard. A bit of "foreign" tone makes you sound interesting.

2Learn to say "nǐ hǎo".

"Nǐ hǎo" literally translates into "You Good" and can be a very generic greeting term. It is pronounced like "nee how". You can say it when you shake hands with your Chinese friends, when you walk by them in the hallway, etc. It can be loosely used in all situations where you may say "hi" or "hello" in American English.

3Learn to say "xiè xie".

"Xiè xie" means "Thank you". It is pronounced like "Shi-e Shi-e". It can be used whenever you want to say thank you to someone.

4Learn to say "bú kè qi".

"Bú kè qi" means "You're welcome". It is pronounced like "Boo Ker (British accent without the "r") Chi".

5Learn to say "tài hǎo le !"

"Tài hǎo le !" means "Wonderful!". It is pronounced like "Thai Hao Lah". This can be applied to many situations as you may suspect, such as someone agreeing to see you again, receiving very good news, etc..

6Learn to say "nǎ lǐ nǎ lǐ".

"Nǎ lǐ nǎ lǐ" is a standard response to any compliment, including compliments to your spouse. To say "xiè xie" (Thank you) when you receive compliments is not the Chinese way, but also acceptable.

7Learn to introduce yourself in Chinese.

As you shake hands with a new Chinese friend, say "Wǒ jiào(insert your name here)". "Wǒ jiào" means "My name is". You can also say "wǒ de míng zi shì (insert name here), which also means "my name is."

8Say every phrase twice.

Except for "nǎ lǐ nǎ lǐ" which is already a repetitive phrase, everything above can be said twice to make you really sound like a native. For instance, instead of saying "nǐ hǎo", say "nǐ hǎo nǐ hǎo!". Instead of "xiè xie", say "xiè xie xiè xie" (I know it may sound crazy but trust me, this is how a native Chinese would say it.) This is done to put emphasis on the words. Say the phase a little softer the second time, and keep repeating to fade out smoothly.

9Say "dà jiā hǎo!"

When opening a speech. You may be asked to make a speech. Open the speech by saying "Dà jiā hǎo!" which can be loosely translated into "How's everyone today?", "Hello everyone!", ""Wish everyone well!", or "Good day, everyone!"

10Use a Chinese phrase before you answer wherever you can.

Try to use a Chinese phrase before you move on to talking normally in English. This will really differentiate you from any other foreigners they meet and leave them very good impressions.

Source: Wikihow

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